Tenants urged to evacuate from homes across the street from a high-rise crane that collapsed under the strength of Hurricane Irma’s winds were told Monday that they could safely return now the equipment has been safely secured.
Maurice Pons, the city’s deputy building director, agreed that the entirety of a collapsed Maxim Crane Works crane had been safely secured to the roof of Gran Paraiso, a Related Group project under construction on Northeast 31st Street in Edgewater. Concerns about the crane’s felled jib and counter weights had forced the city to hold a recommended evacuation in place through the weekend at two buildings across the street despite assurances from Maxim and the general contractor that the site was safe.
“The crane company provided me a letter today that they had not only strapped back all the parts but made sure all the accessory parts — which is what I was concerned about — are safe and have been checked,” Pons told the Miami Herald Monday. “Now they’re working on how to put the final pieces together in bringing the tower crane down.”
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Plaza Construction and Maxim have been working to strap the toppled crane jib down and lower it from the tower since Sept. 10, when Hurricane Irma passed over Miami. The crane jib, the second to fall during the hurricane, was secured to the tower in at least seven places Saturday, according to a Maxim executive. A consultant working for Plaza told Pons the previous day that the crane “does not pose currently pose a danger to the residents of the buildings immediately to the south of the site.”
The decision to lift the evacuation order around Gran Paraiso came just hours after crews removed a tower crane at Vice apartments that also fell during Hurricane Irma, sending debris tumbling to the ground and leaving its jib dangling over the tracks of the Metro Mover.
The accident led Miami Dade College to issue a warning last week that it would not resume activities at its Wolfson Campus Building 8 next door until the crane was safely secured, and caused the county to wait before resuming train movement past the building. On Sunday, welders came in and cut the crane arm apart, and a pulley was used to lower pieces down to the building’s pool deck, Pons said.
The final piece came down at 10:30 p.m., and both the college and Metro Mover resumed their normal operations Monday morning.
“Building 8, directly west of the construction site and below the damaged crane, was inspected and reopened earlier,” college spokesman Juan Mendieta said Monday.
A third collapsed tower crane located at Auberge Beach Residences in Fort Lauderdale, has also been taken down.
“As of Saturday, the jib and turntable had been safely removed and the site resumed normal operations,” said a spokeswoman for Moss, the contractor on the project. “The crane was fully contained within the jobsite and did not pose a threat to the surrounding area or the adjacent streets. Additionally, there was no damage to the tower structure of the crane or the construction project.”